Unfortunately, the Dallas Independent School District routinely experiences a flagrant disregard for opening day, despite its best efforts to get students to show up.
Last year, about 25,000 DISD students were missing on the first day of school. In 2004, it was more than 34,000 students.
Perhaps if school didn’t start earlier and earlier every year, we wouldn’t have this "flagrant disregard" for opening day. When I went to public school in Dallas (way back in the age of dinosaurs, according to my kids), we had a real summer vacation. When Labor Day rolled around, it was time to go back, and by then most of us were ready.
This year, DISD started classes (with 25 percent of the student body missing, according to this article) on August 14th. That’s still the middle of summer. It’s hot and muggy. Of course the kids aren’t ready to head back to the classroom. And parents who grew up with the idea that "the order of things" is that school starts in September are probably a lot less inclined to send them.
Again, according to the article, one of the District’s representatives blamed "families returning late for vacation" in part for the large number of absences. Well, duh.
Try this: go back to an after-Labor Day start date for public schools. See if that helps with the first day no-show problem.